Ararat – The current strategic review and realignment of the management structure of AME Systems (Vic) has been seen as a defining moment by the new management team.
AME Systems (Vic) is positive about the future of the company both domestically and internationally, but on a local front is also committed to being the workplace of choice, providing a stable source of employment for the Ararat region.
AME System announced a newly realigned management structure of seven executives last month, which includes manager sales and engineering Nick Carthew, manager of business improvement and support Dean Pinniger and manager manufacturing Dave Nichols.
Work began in August last year on AME’s quadrennial strategic review, which is expected to be completed by mid this year, to provide clarity about the systems, plans and policies required by AME Systems (Vic) to position itself as a ‘capable, reliable and sustainable’ business.
Each of the new managers brings particular skills to their new positions, which will have far reaching benefits to the company.
Nick Carthew returned to Ararat and the family business two years ago.
After leaving Ararat at 17, Mr Carthew completed an electrical apprenticeship in automation control and robotics for a company which makes parts for Toyota, before moving to a business development role with Hagemeyer, formerly Pacific Dunlop.
Mr Carthew then moved to business development roles, senior project manager and general managing positions at a number of companies, before starting his own electrical contracting communications company.
On moving back to AME Systems (Vic), Mr Carthew began as engineering manager but as part of the restructure now has the role of manager sales and engineering, which will see him overseeing all the potential sales marketing.
“I will spend a fair bit of time travelling to meet with people to identify opportunities,” Mr Carthew said.
“We go Australia wide and I will also spend time abroad in the next 12 months looking at new opportunities and new markets.”
Mr Carthew believes his new role is an integral part of the restructure of AME Systems (Vic).
“It’s a position that allows the company to look at new markets, products that we do and don’t manufacture,” he said.
“It’s a very broad job description – it’s recosting, profitability, new markets.”
With his strong background in the electrics field, he will also bring a different view to the role.
“I will bring a more structured, or corporate view to the way we do business, previously it was more a family based business.
“I look at it more from a sustainability point of view, rather than just getting the job done.”
In the future Mr Carthew can see changes in the way AME does business and broadening the products that will be manufactured.
“Part of this role will be to investigate what I would call value add assemblies – items that are harder to import from overseas, things that can be controlled more readily,” he said.
“The value add assemblies will be the focus for us in the future, not stepping away from, but reducing the focus on the electrical harness manufacturing side.”
Due to the economy, the manufacturing industry has been a difficult one to be involved in over the past few years.
“But we’ve experienced some growth over and above what we’ve budgeted for, which is obviously positive,” Mr Carthew said.
“I’d say towards the end of the year we should see a little bit of an increase in sales turnover, but I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near as rapid as it has been in the last five or six years.
“It’s a message of stability; there shouldn’t be the fluctuations we’ve had in the past, which is what most people want to hear.”
Manager of business improvement and support Dean Pinniger is returning to the company after a short hiatus.
Commencing his career at CTA in 1987 and working with AME’s predecessor Packard CTA, Mr Pinniger completed a traineeship which led to working in the methods engineering department. When AME Systems (Vic) started after Packards closure in 1992, Mr Pinniger took on the role of quality manager and later production manager.
He continued in this role until 2007 when he move to Kerang to work as operations manager for Dunstan Farmers Engineering, a manufacturer of heavy duty agricultural equipment, which continued until July last year, when he returned to AME.
“Personally my wife and I wanted to come back to Ararat; Ararat is home, so I came back into a role as manager of process improvement.”
Within Mr Pinniger’s new role of manager of business improvement and support, he is responsible for continuous improvement, technical training, people and culture, and IT Systems.
Mr Pinniger said the realignment is also about looking forward and where AME Systems (Vic) needs to be in the future.
“We work in a global industry and we have global competition and threats from overseas. We deliver into a niche market but we are operating on a global scale,” Mr Pinniger said.
“My role is about aligning the improvement and support of the business in order that we achieve a strategic plan and definitely make sure there’s a connection between the people who are working hands on in manufacturing our product and the goals of the business. The strategic plan is to make sure there is a communication link, that we understand exactly what we need to improve and that we provide those tools and resources.
“If we’re not aware of that then there is a definite disconnect, which causes many, many problems. The main part of the realignment is to provide that strategic thinking and put things into place to take the business forward and provide employment for the people of Ararat, stability, input into the community as well as having a reliable and sustainable business.”
Manufacturing manager Dave Nichols came to AME Systems (Vic) after 24 years working for McCain Foods in Ballarat.
Prior to joining AME three years ago, Mr Nichols worked as McCain Competition Edge, manager continuous improvement division, and before that he worked in many manufacturing roles within the organisation.
He joined AME as plant manager and looked after the manufacturing process of the plant and the plant in general, including maintenance and upkeep.
“As the ‘manufacturing manager’ more emphasis will be put on the manufacturing processes and achieving on-time delivery,” Mr Nichols said.
“Through the realignment we had a look at the roles and responsibilities in the organisation and specifically we’ve looked at how the business works, including business improvement processes and systems, sales and engineering, how that comes together, the purchasing and accruement of stock and then manufacturing.
“It sits under one of the four pillars of the organisation.
The first thing is there’s going to be lots of challenges for the business going forward, but I think what it does do is breaks a lot of shackles, it’s going to enable us to be more reactive to the market, be more proactive within the market place.”
Mr Nichols sees a positive future with direction the company is taking and believes this is a really good opportunity for AME Systems (Vic) , it’s a bit of a defining moment, but a moment where we can move forward.”
“We have some terrific people who work here and tapping into those people, getting ideas generated off the shop floor and through the business, they’re all things I’m looking forward to over the next few years,” Mr Nichols said.
While currently still an electrical harness manufacturing business, AME will in future look to value add manufacturing.
“And who knows what we might do? The beautiful thing about it is that the paradigms have opened up to what else can we do. It’s really important to the business that we’re fundamentally an Ararat business and (it’s all about) what can we provide the community of Ararat, what opportunities?
“We want to be the employer of choice in Ararat, so it’s about looking at what opportunities do we have here, what opportunities are there in the community for getting young people out of school that want to stay in Ararat, and what we can offer them.
“It’s really an exciting time ahead.”